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‘Make disciples of all nations’

Katie and Brant Carpenter for Progressive Cattle Published on 22 November 2019
Members of the Christian Veterinary Mission

It’s 2 a.m.; we’re sound asleep in hammocks, nestled between two shade-bearing trees, and then it begins.

The wind blows in, amplifying the crickets chirping, the roosters crowing and the dogs barking, but then it hits my head, then my face. It’s cool, wet and almost unrecognizable at this time of night and for the drought-stricken land in which we are sleeping.

Ranchers tied their livestock to trees to give shotsAfter six long months, the land in Vijague was too dry to produce any crops, essential for families to eat and livestock to flourish. The drought has produced cracks in the soil large enough to swallow a horse’s hoof. The night before, our veterinary mission group, a collection of pre-vet students, veterinary students, veterinarians, support missionaries and Nicaraguan farmers and ranchers, with heads bowed and eyes closed, sitting together in the dry air and darkness, asked God to bless these people and the land.

A new covered kitchen

On Aug. 6, 2019, the predominant non-Christian community of Vijague, Nicaragua, experienced God’s glory and a miracle in the form of rain! This story is just one of many over the years that proves God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (all-present).

The summer of 2007, we stepped out of the comfort of small-town life. We were young, working summers in Texas on the family ranch and very new to the field of veterinary medicine. However, that summer was different and forever changed our lives.

Cattle aren't kept in fenced pastures

Our very first mission trip, through Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM), was scheduled for May in Honduras. With bags packed and unsure what the next week would hold, we boldly committed to serving God in a land we knew nothing about, in an area where our expertise was growing, and a language barrier existed. While we were nervous and unsure, God had big plans, of which now we know was perfectly orchestrated from the omnipotent God.

Large group in Nicaragua are having Bible study

The call came in very early Friday morning, as we were leaving for the airport. Honduras suffered uproar: guerilla groups, claiming to be the antichrist, were on attack much like a snake striking at the heel of a horse, lashing toward anything in its path. CVM declared Honduras unsafe for travel, resulting in trip cancellation. Our spirits were crushed; we were prepared mentally, physically and spiritually, but we still possessed the burning desire to go.

Dr. Brant carpenter and his son Chisum with Sindalfo Gomez and his sonMatthew 28:19 (KJV) says, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This command of Jesus found in the great commission was still very etched into our hearts, and that is exactly what we would obey. Pushing onward, with determination and persistence CVM reached out to Oscar and Tamy Gaitan, a Nicaraguan missionary family, about hosting a team.

The Carpenter family with Oscar Gaitan, the host in Nicaragua

A new location for CVM, a new missionary adventure for the Gaitans and still so many unanswered questions, but we obediently followed to Nicaragua. Unsure of what God had planned or how we would be received, the trip proved to be a success. Twelve years later, the Gaitans now host multiple mission groups each year and have been able to reach thousands of people via the connection of human and animal.

Each trip is rewarding in a new way, and God’s purpose and plan are fulfilled in amazing glory. August 2019, we traveled for seven days in rural Nicaragua meeting the needs of people via our connection with animals. Most of the places served are so rural only a few vehicles a day may pass by a village with predominant transportation via horse. The livestock are necessary for income and working the land; therefore, the need for healthy animals is crucial for survival.

View from the top of Volcán Masaya from the back of a horse

The most life-changing events were the act of a father and son together dedicating their life to Christ and another rancher rededicating his life after many years astray. The eternal decision to give up their old way and follow God is what missions are all about.

Using the amazing connection between people and animals is the key to opening hearts. Christmas is an eternal reminder of the birth of our Savior, who came to teach, preach and die for our sins; a gift we are unworthy of receiving. Romans 6:23 (KJV) says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Like a stock tank in the center of a large pasture, cattle do not all come to water from the same trail. If you were to see an aerial view of the land, you would not only see many paths but cattle drinking from all sides of the tank. The water, wet and cool, is refreshing and essential for survival. Much like Christ, we have all come to Him via different roads, and when we partake in the goodness He has to offer, it is refreshing and essential.

Like the drought-busting rain in Vijaque, have you quenched your thirst for eternal life in Christ Jesus?  end mark

PHOTO 1: Members of the Christian Veterinary Mission group stand at the active Volcán Masaya of Nicaragua.

PHOTO 2: Nicaraguan ranchers catch and tie their livestock to a tree for restraint when giving shots or treating a sickness.

PHOTO 3: An elderly woman in San Blas prepares a meal in what will be her new covered kitchen.

PHOTO 4: Cattle aren’t kept in fenced pastures; they move about in herds looking for a place to graze.

PHOTO 5: A large group of men in Nicaragua gather to have Bible study. 

PHOTO 6: Dr. Brant Carpenter and his son Chisum stand next to Sindalfo Gomez and his son. 

PHOTO 7: The Carpenter family with Oscar Gaitan, the host in Nicaragua

PHOTO 8: View from the top of Volcán Masaya from the back of a horse. Photos by Dr. Katie Carpenter. 

Drs. Katie and Brant Carpenter are the owners of Carpenter Veterinary Clinic LLC in Nocona, Texas, and service missionaries with Christian Veterinary Mission.